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A day after Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien accused the Montreal Canadiens of embellishing to draw penalties, saying the tactic is embarrassing to the game of hockey, the Habs fired back, with Montreal coach Michel Therrien suggesting Julien should just worry about his own team.
"I've known Claude for a long time and I've been coaching teams against him for a long time, too," Therrien told reporters following the Canadiens' morning skate at Nassau Coliseum. "To me, those comments that he made were ridiculous and I think he was very frustrated to have lost that game. Claude can concentrate on his team and I'll concentrate on my own."
The Canadiens scored twice in the third period to beat the Bruins, 4-3, on Sunday night.
Winger Max Pacioretty, who had a goal and an assist in the win, said Julien's comments are a result of the Habs' success this season.
"Jealousy," Pacioretty told reporters. "We're at the top right now and reading comments like that is awesome. If we're in last place, they wouldn't be saying anything about us, but we're in first place and it's the best feeling in the world."
Julien was emotional after Sunday night's loss, a physical, fight-filled game that saw Bruins players spend a combined 34 minutes in the penalty box.
"Right now they've got over 100 power plays so far, and it's pretty obvious why," Julien said after the game. "We're trying to clean that out of our game, and it's got to be done soon because it's not about tonight, it's about the game, and the embellishment embarrasses our game. We need to be better at that."
At Monday's practice, Julien didn't back down from his comments, although he said he wasn't calling out the Canadiens but rather was giving an assessment of the league as a whole.
"I didn't say anything wrong," Julien said when asked whether he expected to hear from the NHL. "I didn't blame the refs, I didn't blame anyone. I said the embellishment puts refs in a tough position because they call it, it's one thing, but if they call it and the guy's really injured, it makes them look bad. We're not helping the referees by embellishing. It makes it tough for them. It's not as easy to correct as it seems because there's consequences if they make a mistake on calling an embellishment.
"Like I've talked about before with hits from behind, responsibility also has to come from the guy getting hit, to stop putting yourself in a vulnerable position. I think embellishment is the same thing. You're embarrassing the game and there's no room for it."
The Bruins and Canadiens meet again March 27 in Boston.